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We Honor the Memory of Our Loved Ones


By Laura Schemmel

We are approaching the month of November, the month of remembrance dedicated to prayerfully honoring the memory of our loved ones. Most celebrations occur at the beginning of the month. November 1 is All Saints Day, a tribute to all saints. November 2 is All Souls Day, dedicated to praying for all those who have died.

All Saints Day celebrates those individuals declared by the Church as ‘Saints’ for the holy, exemplary lives they lived. It includes the martyrs that were granted eternal life for their sacrifice. It was established by Pope Gregory IV in 837. This feast day is a reminder of the commitment we made in our baptism to live the life of Christ We seek to follow the example they set and as we are all one communion in Christ, we ask their help and intercession in our own lives.

All Souls Day is a day of prayer for the dead that provides the opportunity for us to surround our beloved dead with our prayers, especially through the Eucharistic celebration, as we accompany them on their journey to the Father. This is a joyful celebration. As Catholics our understanding of death is seen through the lens of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Our celebration is hope-filled for our hope, and the hope of all those who follow Christ is that even as we share in a death like Christ, we will share in a resurrection like Christ Death is not the end. This feast marks our faith in a hope-filled future.

Each and every one of us will be touched by the reality of death on the walk of our faith. The funeral rites of our Church help us to remember that no one truly dies alone but is accompanied by the community of believers as eternity opens for each one of us. It provides for the family and friends of the deceased to actively enter into this moment of passage as we shape a truly fitting farewell for our loved ones.

Catholic Cemeteries is offering a workshop to plan a Christian Funeral on November 16 at Saint Nicholas Parish. The most advantageous time of preparation is before the crisis of an immediate death. In the course of a grave illness of a loved one, it would be beneficial and comforting for family members to familiarize themselves with the process of a funeral that would include a Vigil, Mass and graveside service.

During this month parishes throughout the Diocese will offer various ways to remember your loved ones like the Book of the Dead to place your loved ones’ name, a Celebration of Remembrance that could include a liturgy or mass with a time for fellowship and it could be as simple as offering candles to light. Catholic Cemeteries is also offering a workshop, Anticipating the Holidays as You Grieve, at multiple parishes. Please contact us for more information.

You are invited to join Catholic Cemeteries celebration with a mass at Gate of Heaven Cemetery (English) or Calvary Cemetery (English, Spanish and Portuguese) on November 2 at 11 a.m. See our ad or contact our office at (833) 677-9644, ccoutreach@dsj.org for more information about these and additional masses offered in other languages: Vietnamese, Korean.

Anticipating the Holidays – Consolation of Grief

November 4 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Saint Elizabeth, Parish Ministry Center-Saint Monica Room, 750 Sequoia Dr., Milpitas.

November 5 from 1 – 3 p.m. at Church of the Transfiguration-in the Church, 4325 Jarvis Ave., San Jose. Presenter: Father Christopher Bennett

Holidays often accentuate our sadness and grief. Father Christopher Bennett shares scripture and personal stories, peaceful slides and music. This interactive workshop offers hope and support to better navigate the holidays.

Planning a Christian Funeral

November 16 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Saint Nicholas Church – Saint Nicholas Hall,  473 Lincoln Avenue, Los Altos. Presenters: Father Christopher Bennett; a funeral home and Catholic Cemeteries.

This workshop will assist you in making choices about your funeral or that of a loved one. Come learn about our Church’s comforting rituals-Vigil, Funeral Mass, and Committal – each have distinct purposes in the journey toward healing and wholeness. Learn about the services and options offered at a funeral home and Catholic Cemeteries.

Death Cafe

Monthly Drop-in Group. A safe space to talk about death, dying, what it means. November 20 from 7 – 9 p.m. (3rd Wednesday each month) at 890 Benton Saint, Santa Clara (off Lafayette)Facilitator: Candee Lucas, M.A. Pastoral Ministries. Space provided by Santa Clara University Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries. For more information: www.deathcafe.com/deathcafe. Endorsed by Catholic Cemeteries.

For more information or to schedule a free workshop in your parish, contact Catholic Cemeteries at (833) 677-9644 or ccoutreach@dsj.org.